Balcatta student only WA finalist for art’s Young Archie award

Balcatta SHS year 10 student Torren Whissen's portrait of a Korean War veteran was the only WA entry to be shortlisted for the prestigious Young Archie award. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Torren Whisson's portrait of war veteran Herbert Harrison
Balcatta SHS year 10 student Torren Whissen's portrait of a Korean War veteran was the only WA entry to be shortlisted for the prestigious Young Archie award. Picture: Andrew Ritchie Torren Whisson's portrait of war veteran Herbert Harrison

BALCATTA art student Torren Whissen’s artwork is the only WA piece in the finals of the prestigious Young Archie award, an offshoot of the Archibald Prize.

The 15-year-old Balcatta Senior High School student painted a photorealistic portrait of Korean War veteran Herbert Harrison as part of a 2017 Anzac commemorations project where 40 Australian war veterans had their portraits painted by WA artists.

Torren said she had always been interested in drawing and painting and was inspired by her father.

“I’ve been drawing and painting since I was really little, my Dad is a big influence on my art,” she said.

“My father passed away when I was younger; he was a really good artist.

“When I found out my painting was in the finals I cried – I was just so happy.”

Balcatta SHS Head of Arts Jamie Arkeveld said Torren was part of the school’s gifted and talented visual arts program and produced a painting “way beyond expectations”.

“This is the first time one of our students has got something into the Young Archie,” she said.

“It is a big competition because it is Australia wide, she is the only one from WA and there are five finalists (in her age group).

“I think if anyone has a chance to make it as a full time artist she has, she’s got the ability but also she has a very focussed mind.

“She has the ability to completely involve herself to a task and finish it to such a high standard.”

Winners of the Young Archie will be announced on September 16.

Balcatta SHS offers a gifted and talented art program and weekend art classes for students in the metro area.

Visit: balcattashs.wa.edu.au/learning/gifted-and-talented-art-program